Psychological Injuries: Forensic Assessment, Treatment, and Law
Human emotional suffering has been studied for centuries, but the significance of psychological injuries within legal contexts has only recently been recognized. As the public becomes increasingly aware of the ways in which mental health affects physical—and financial—well-being, psychological injuries comprise a rapidly growing set of personal injury insurance claims. Although the problems that people claim to suffer from are serious and often genuine, the largely subjective and unobservable nature of psychological conditions has led to much skepticism about the authenticity of psychological injury claims. Improved assessment methods and research on the economic and physical health consequences of psychological distress has resulted in exponential growth in the litigation related to such conditions. Integrating the history of psychological injuries both from legal and mental health perspectives, this book offers discussions of relevant statutory and case law. Focusing especially on post-traumatic stress disorder, it addresses the current status and empirical limitations of forensic assessments of psychological injuries and alerts to common vulnerabilities in expert evidence from mental health professionals. In addition, it also uses empirical research to provide the best forensic methods for assessing both clinical conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and for alternative explanations such as malingering.